MetaTrader 4 has become established as one of the most commonly used autonomous trading platforms for private traders and forex brokers around the world. While some forex brokers will offer their own proprietary trading platforms, MetaTrader 4, or MT4, has become the market leader for trading FX. Software firm MetaQuotes developed MT4, and first launched in 2005.
For starters, it is flexible. You can trade with MT4 on your computer, laptop, cellphone, or tablet. Once you’re familiar with it, the features remain largely the same, regardless of which FX broker you are using. You won’t need to re-learn an entirely new platform. Oh, and it’s free.
Are there Expert Advisors on MT4?
MT4’s prevalence in the FX trading market means that many programmers of algorithmic trading packages, or Expert Advisors, make use of it. Thus, if automated trading is your thing, more likely than not, you’ll be using MT4. There is already an extensive library of free and commercial Expert Advisors available on the market for you to sift through.
Looking on other traders
Again, because MT4 is so widespread, many traders who broadcast signals to other traders, sometimes for a fee, will do so on MT4. The program has a signs feature that will allow you to follow other traders, seeing how they trade forex markets. It can be an excellent way for new MT4 traders to watch the experts in action.
What about backtesting?
Sometimes it can help carry out backtesting, mainly if you are using an automated program and wish to see how it might perform over historical trading periods. The amount of historical forex data you have available to you will depend on the MT4 broker you are using. However, other free and reliable sources of FX data are available. Some FX brokers and databases can provide financial markets data back to the 1970s.
Why should I use MT4 if there’s MT5 already?
MT5 is the successor to MT4 and was launched in 2010, but it is still not as widespread as its older brother. MT5 is gradually being rolled out to brokers, so you may find many brokers still offering just MT4 to traders. Specialist forex brokers are now more likely to be using MT5. Generally speaking, MT5 has more sophisticated features – e.g. a more comprehensive range of time frame analyses to view markets – but some traders still prefer MT4 because of its more straightforward user interface. Likely, MT5 will eventually replace MT4 completely.
Are other markets available on MT4?
MT4 was designed as a trading package for forex markers, and the vast majority of FX brokers will offer it. Some brokers will offer CFD trading on other markets like indexes through the platform, but this is not designed for. MT5 has been designed to work with commodities and equities, reflecting a demand by traders who want a more multi-asset class system.
In summary, if you are seriously considering trading FX, then MT4 or MT5 will likely be the trading platforms you will be using. Luckily they are free, and it is possible to set them up on a computer and familiarise yourself with their functions without risking any money. Many MT4 brokers will also advise you on installation and any technical problems that may arise.